British Biology Olympiad
All schools in the UK are emailed with details of the competition.
Information is on the UK Biology Competitions website and the website of the Royal Society of Biology. Information is included in newsletters published by the Royal Society of Biology. An announcement is made in the annual STEM publication and in the competition section of the ASE's website schoolscience.co.uk. Advertisements have also been placed in ASE publications including the wall planner.
UK Biology Competitions (UKBC) is a Special Interest Group of the Royal Society of Biology. It organises the British Biology Olympiad and Biology Challenge, a competition for younger pupils.
The members of UKBC are all unpaid volunteers.
The British Biology Olympiad has three rounds. The first paper is taken in schools in January. The second paper is taken in schools in March by top-scoring students in the first round. The top twelve students in the second round are invited to take part in the finals which include practical tests. They take place in April at the University of Warwick.
Pupils taking A-level or IB Biology in all types of school are eligible to enter.
The first round consists of multiple choice questions and is taken online in schools.
The second round has multiple true-false questions and is also taken in schools.
The finals are held at the University of Warwick's School of Life Sciences. Four practical tests, one short theory test and a small amount of training take place over three days.
The UKBC volunteers produce all three theory papers.
Whether or not competitors receive any training or guidance before the BBO first round is entirely up to the teachers in each school.
The first day of the finals is used for some training, including use of laboratory equipment, some unfamiliar Botany & other topics the students may not have covered, but which might be needed for the practical tests. BBO committee members and others do this in the University labs.
Students in the UK must give priority to the public examinations which take place in May to July and on which their university places depend. This means that there is little training possible once the team has been selected except perhaps to practise some questions from previous IBO competitions. The team will probably receive two or three days training just before leaving for the IBO which might include a day at a University plus visits to the Natural History Museum and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.
There are no materials made available to students other than some past questions from the BBO competition published on the website.
Past IBO papers are made available to the team members and they are provided with a copy of Campbell or similar on request.
Gold, Silver and Bronze medals (no value) & certificates are awarded on the basis of the results of the first round. Certificates are also awarded to those who are Highly Commended and Commended.
Those choosing to attend the awards ceremony may receive additional small gifts. Finalists receive books and team members also receive student membership of the Royal Society of Biology.
There is a press release when results are announced. Local newspapers may occasionally feature individual winners or local schools.
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council is funding the costs of sending the UK team to the 2016 IBO.
Other support is in kind. Warwick University provides laboratories and staff during the national finals.
The Royal Society of Biology organises the award ceremony and provides administrative support.
See above, the Royal Society of Biology is the organisation which provides this support. The UK Government is not directly involved in the BBO at this time.
Anyone, from any type of school or FE College, or being home-tutored, may enter the first round.
In addition to normal IBO Rules, it is necessary for prospective team members to have studied in the UK for at least the two years before the IBO.
2011 1700 students
2912 2850 students
2013 4200 students
2014 5056 students
2015 6000 students
2016 7020 students